Pakatan says no tussle with SNAP for Sarawak seats

(The Malaysian Insider) – Pakatan Rakyat’s (PR) central leadership today denied it was facing problems from its new partner Sarawak National Party (SNAP) in seat negotiations for the coming state election.

PR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim told a press conference today that “most of the issues have been resolved” and that the pact’s leaders in Sarawak would discuss the matter with SNAP.

“The three parties will discuss with SNAP… our Sarawak party leaders,” he said after chairing the PR leadership council meeting here today.

Earlier, PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang fielded questions on the Sarawak polls and claimed that seat negotiations among PR parties were close to being concluded.

“Most of them have already been settled… only a few more to decide on,” he said.

When pressed for details on the number of seats with overlapping candidates, Hadi said: “There is no need for that. Just a few, not many.”

He added that PR wanted at least 21 days of campaigning for the Sarawak polls and expressed hoped the election would be conducted fairly.

“Elections are not just about voting. The campaign period should be a fair one to ensure that the people receive enough information from all contesting parties to make a fair judgement,” he said.

The Malaysian Insider reported recently that SNAP is at loggerheads with PR’s three core parties, particularly PKR, over the division of seats for the coming state contest.

It is believed that PKR aims to take the lion’s share of the 71-seat assembly by fielding 52 candidates, while SNAP is now demanding to contest in at least 30 constituencies, up two seats from the previous 28 it had contested during the 2006 polls.

DAP is seeking to field 20 candidates while PAS is content with about four or five seats.

Speaking to The Malaysian Insider earlier, SNAP secretary-general Stanley Jugol had recorded his frustration over PKR’s refusal to back down from its demands.

“It looks like they are not willing to give up the seats. We want 30 because we know that our popularity has grown and they still want 52.

“Look who is the troublemaker here,” he had charged.